New Delhi, Dec 7 (IANS): A total of 397 lions, including 182 cubs, have died in Gujarat between 2019 and 2021, with around 10 per cent falling prey to unnatural causes, the Parliament was told on Thursday.
The information was given by Minister of State for Environment Ashwini Kumar Choubey to the Rajya Sabha in a written reply to a question.
As per year-wise breakdown, 66 adult lions and 60 cubs died in 2019, 73 adult lions and 76 cubs in 2020, and 76 adult lions and 46 cubs in 2021. Approximately 10.53 percent of these deaths, including 3.82 percent of cub fatalities, were due to unnatural reasons.
In response to these worrying statistics, Choubey emphasised the Central government's support for lion conservation in Gujarat.
The state receives funding assistance under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats, which focuses on various initiatives, including the conservation of the Asiatic lions, enhancing public awareness about wildlife conservation, and managing habitats.
Additionally, the Minister highlighted the ongoing legal deliberations regarding the translocation of lions from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh, a matter currently under the purview of the Supreme Court. The decision to translocate is seen as a significant step towards ensuring the survival and genetic diversity of Asiatic lions.